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Apple iWork: It's about time for real-time collaboration

Apple announces a challenger to Google Drive office tools.

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Real-time collaboration comes to Apple office software.

James Martin/CNET

You open a document or spreadsheet, start throwing in some new information, and then notice someone else is doing the same thing. You're editing it together!

That's Google Drive. Wait, no, that's iWork. Apple announced its new collaborative editing tool at its product event Wednesday, giving users an alternative to the Google service first announced in 2007.

iWork will work with existing Apple office applications, including Apple's presentation-making software.

Susan Prescott, vice president of worldwide apps product marketing at Apple, explained the changes onstage while showing a slide from Keynote. As she spoke, the slide automatically updated with edits that users were making in real time.

"We have never edited a deck live on stage before," Prescott said, "but we're so excited to show you our real-time collaboration, we're going to do it."

Users each get a different colored bubble to represent them as they work, allowing everyone to see who's contributing each edit.

Correction, September 9 at 11:33 a.m. PT: This story has been updated to correct the name of the Apple executive who presented the iWork collaborative software. The presenter was Susan Prescott, vice president of worldwide apps product marketing.